We invite you to join the Nelson Institute for a screening and discussion of the film Breaking Trail, which follows Emily Ford as she becomes the first woman and person of color to embark on a thru-hike, or point to point, of the Ice Age Trail in winter. This Tales from Planet Earth Film Series event will feature a special discussion with Ford and James Edward Mills, Nelson Institute community partnership liaison. Together they will explore Ford’s journey with her sled dog Diggins and the ways this experience tested their endurance, while also showcasing the unexpected kindness of strangers.
We are excited to host two opportunities to screen the film including a showing at the UW South Madison Partnership location to increase access for our south Madison neighbors.
Emily Ford grew up in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, went to Gustavus Adolphus College, and promptly moved to Duluth, Minnesota, after finishing her geology degree. Moving to Duluth inspired her to get out and backpack (especially after getting her first pup, Zulu).
She is now the head gardener of the historic house museum, Glensheen. Since she is laid off for three months in the winter, she spends her time in the snow.
In the winter of 2020-2021, she completed the 1,200-mile National Scenic Ice Age Trail with her second dog, Diggins. She continues to get out in the winter hoping to break down barriers for other people of color in the outdoors.
Many of our Tales from Planet Earth Film Series partners will be hosting events inspired by Breaking Trail. We invite you to attend these free events where you can connect with the community while enjoying all that the outdoors have to offer.
Meet and Greet with Emily Ford
February 7, 2–5 p.m.
Ice Age Trail Trailhead
Prairie Moraine County Park
6679 Wesner Lane, Verona
Hosted by the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Explore the Verona segment of the Ice Age Trail on your own.
Meet and Greet with Emily Ford and Winter Hike
February 8, 3–5 p.m.
Mendota Lodge, Memorial Union
800 Langdon St., Madison
Hosted by the Wisconsin Hoofers Outing Club. Meet Emily Ford from 3 to 4 p.m., and then join a guided snowshoe or hike on the lake from 4 to 5 p.m. Free snowshoe rental available as part of the Wisconsin Union Winter Carnival.
Breaking Trail Guided Hikes and Open House
February 13, 12:30–4 p.m.
1207 Seminole Highway, Madison
Learn about outdoor recreation opportunities from our Tales from Planet Earth Breaking Trail event partners and join guided hikes through the Arboretum (1-2 p.m.). Refreshments provided. Registration requested to save your spot for the guided hikes.
The Nelson Institute is pleased to offer a wide variety of free public programs, lectures, and events, demonstrating our commitment and dedication to the Wisconsin Idea: the principle that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom.
Tales from Planet Earth films are selected to feature compelling narratives of the work of scholars and community organizations advocating for environmental and social justice.